Bill Gates said it in 1996, and it is even more true today: content is king. Whether it’s a long-form blog article, a short social media post, or a business report, every business – no matter the size – can benefit from great written content.
In saying this, we know that it’s not always easy to come up with blog ideas and get your content written and published, especially when time is against you or there’s a need for a lot of content quickly. If you’re an under-resourced team, it can be even harder.
Whether your team is just getting started or you need to increase the volume of work produced without sacrificing quality, our simple framework can help. Follow our helpful steps to improve your content output and begin creating great content.
Why Is Content Important?
Content is how you reach your customers and clients, especially in a digital world. You have a website, a social media page, send out emails, and run advertising – it’s all content.
Bad content can actually lose your business customers and money, as we covered in our article, The Cost of Ineffective Content. If a client receives an email from you with spelling mistakes, they may think your business is unprofessional. If a landing page on your website displays incorrect or redundant information, your business won’t be seen as the expert. Neither of these things encourages someone to spend their money or time with you.
Good content, on the other hand, can increase positive feelings toward your brand, encourage customer engagement, and grow your brand’s reputation. Well-written content will demonstrate your brand’s trustworthiness, which can increase sales. For more on why grammar and spelling are so important for a business, read Quality Writing Equals Happy Clients.
How to Get Started
Ready to help your team produce successful content and start seeing the business benefits? Here are some useful pointers to guide your content creation journey.
1. Define Your Objective
As a first step, you must know the goal you want your content to achieve. Should it inform and educate? Do you need to increase product sales? Or are your website’s rankings and visitor traffic important?
Whatever the objective, knowing it from the start will guide you through the writing process. Keep the goal at the forefront of your mind as you progress through the next steps.
2. Do Your Research
You know your objective, but now you need a way to achieve it. Before you start writing, you must know who you’re writing for – who’s your audience?
Many businesses use personas to group their clients. Others have extensive customer data to demonstrate who their clients are. Whether you have this or not, focusing on who you are writing for as you create content will play a big part in reaching the overall objective.
No piece of writing should be for everyone. It’s impossible even to try to write something like that. Whether your business sells a product or provides a service, there’s a target market for it. And no matter how small and niche your content is, it should be written for those exact people. If you need help writing for a specific audience, look at our Writing Customer-Centric Copy guide.
If the objective you’re working toward is increasing website traffic and improving search engine optimization, you’ll probably already know that keyword research is important, but it applies to anyone writing content. In the research phase, you should look at what people are searching for and decide how your content can help them. What do you need to include in your writing that will help someone answer a question or solve a problem they’re experiencing?
Be specific when choosing a topic, just as you would with your target audience. If you’re writing for a clothing company, an article about a specific item of clothing will be far more useful to someone than an article about all the different types of clothing your company sells
3. Know Your Brand Voice
If you have a team that creates content for your business, it’s imperative that a customer can’t tell. By that, we mean that there must be consistency for your content to read and sound like it’s from one place.
Struggling to find what your brand voice is? By defining well-known brands’ voices, you’ll get an idea of your own. For example:
- Nike is inspiring and positive.
- Apple is confident and smart.
- Coca-Cola is upbeat and friendly.
Your plan doesn’t need to be long and detailed, but it should help you create an outline for your content. Use your objective, your audience, and the research you’ve done to define:
- Channel – where your content will be published
- Length – how long the content needs to be for the chosen channel
- Points to be covered – the key pieces of information that must be included.
The Next Steps
You know the goal, have done your research, and have a plan, so now you’re ready to start writing. We know that this is the part many people struggle with, so here are a few pointers to get you started on the right track.
Your headline must encourage people to keep reading. It should highlight the topic of your content and show the reader why they should read on. A compelling headline makes social media users stop mid-scroll and click on something they’ve seen.
The introduction should set the scene, pique the reader’s interest, and make them want to read the rest of the piece. Without giving anything away, explain what your content offers the reader if they continue reading.
3. Include Actionable Tips
The reader has spent time reading your content, so you should reward them with some added benefits, like key takeaways. If your content is an educational piece, sharing knowledge from your specific area of expertise is a must – otherwise, what has the reader learned?
4. Be Clear and Concise
You may be an expert, but your customer probably isn’t. Avoid complicated or technical words and jargon wherever possible and get to the point. Long, flowery descriptions are unnecessary unless you’re writing a fiction novel.
5. Check Your Work
This step is possibly the most important. As we mentioned, bad spelling and grammar won’t entice new clients to your business or encourage customers to come back, so you must proofread your content. Read it aloud to yourself, get someone else to check it, and don’t be afraid to make changes. You’d rather have great content than average, right?
If you don’t have the time or resources, remember that we can help. We have teams of expert proofreaders and editors to help you and your business succeed, including an advertising and marketing team.
To wrap up, writing successful content doesn’t just happen. But if you always keep your audience and goal in mind, keep your brand voice consistent, and give useful, correct information, your team will be well on its way to success. For more on this subject, check out our guide to creating and maintaining a business blog.
Need More Help?
If you’re still unsure where to start, consider having experts handle your content creation. Proofed offers proofreading and editing services to help teams step up their content. We can help with content marketing, blog posts, presentations, reports, website copy, product descriptions, business plans, and more. We’ve worked with thousands of businesses globally, including start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between. Schedule a call to find out how we can help your team.